Transmissible vaccines offer revolutionary opportunities for reducing the threat of pathogen emergence. By self-disseminating through hard to reach wildlife reservoir populations, transmissible vaccines lower pathogen prevalence and reduce the risk of spillover into the human population. We are currently developing mathematical and computational tools to guide the design and deployment of these revolutionary new vaccines. Through global collaborations, we are evaluating the scope for transmissible vaccines to reduce the risk of spillover by Ebola and Lassa viruses into the human population. More information on transmissible vaccines can be found here: www.transmissiblevaccines.org.
FORECASTING SPILLOVER AND EMERGENCE
As contact between human and wild animal reservoir populations increases, so to does the risk that infectious diseases will spillover and emerge into the human population. We are developing tools that forecast the risk of Lassa virus spillover from its natural reservoir, Mastomys natalensis, across West Africa. Our interactive web server allows past and future risk of Lassa virus spillover to be visualized across West Africa: https://preemptlassawestafrica.ibest.uidaho.edu/res/forecast.php
How important are evolutionary interactions among species to biodiversity and community structure and function? We are working to answer this question by developing a suite of mathematical and computational tools that estimate the strength of coevolution within metapopulations, communities, and ecosystems using routinely collected data.